14,000 immigrant children spent Thanksgiving in US government detention shelters

John Moore/Getty ImagesCentral American asylum seekers wait as U.S. Border Patrol agents take them into custody on June 12, 2018 near McAllen, Texas. The families were then sent to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) processing center for possible separation. U.S. border authorities are executing the Trump administration’s ‘zero tolerance’ policy towards undocumented immigrants. U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions also said that domestic and gang violence in immigrants’ country of origin would no longer qualify them for political asylum status.
  • A record-setting 14,030 immigrant children live in US detention camps and shelters across the country as of November 15, according to federal and state statistics.
  • While President Donald Trump’s “zero-tolerance” policy contributed to the boom by separating children from their families at the border, today the number represents mostly children who travelled to the US on their own.
  • The children can be sponsored by adults and live with them instead of in shelters, which stand accused of abuses, but the Trump administration now requires fingerprints for anyone who comes forward as a sponsor.
  • This has already lead to arrests, as the government finds some of the would-be sponsors are illegally in the country themselves.

A record-setting 14,030 immigrant children live in US detention camps and shelters across the country as of November 15, according to federal and state statistics cited by Houston Chronicle.

While President Donald Trump’s “zero-tolerance” policy contributed to the boom by separating children from their families at the border, today the number represents mostly children who travelled to the US on their own, the Chronicle reported.

The Department of Health and Human Services, tasked with administering more than 100 shelters around the country, maintains that the children are treated as well as circumstances allow. The shelters provide education and recreation for their juvenile populations.

But some of the children reported abuses including drugging, sexual misconduct, beatings, and inhumane conditions at a shelter in Virginia.

In the eyes of the court, the children have broken the law by entering the country illegally, and they are not free to leave the shelters of their own will.

Children living in the shelters can be sponsored by their parents, relatives, or friends, but the Trump administration now requires the sponsors to submit fingerprints as part of a background check. The new regulation also required all adults living with a migrant child to submit their fingerprints.

In September, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement arrested 41 would-be sponsors, saying they were in the country illegally themselves. Activists say that the new regulation will have a chilling effect on people coming forward to sponsor the children and remove them from the shelters.

For information on how to donate to or support the children in the shelters, click here.

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